Boxing Day Test under threat from climate change: Report
Melbourne, Dec 2: One of the most famous fixtures in world cricket, the Boxing Day Test played in Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, could soon be under threat from climate change, a new report has suggested.
In decades to come, extreme heat will eventually make the yearly match which sees Australia take on a visiting nation at the MCG a thing of the past, according to Monash University's Climate Change Communication Research Hub.
"Despite the extensive heat management resources available to professional teams, continuing to play the Boxing Day Test in its current format at the end of December will expose players and fans to unprecedented levels of extreme heat," ABCnews quoted the report as saying.
"If no effective climate mitigation action is taken, consideration should be given to moving the Melbourne Test to the shoulder season."
The report further suggested that the Boxing Day Test must be moved to either November or March.
The study, commissioned by the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), urges Cricket Australia to use its prominence to push for greater climate action and do more to look after player and spectator welfare.
In 2018, England Captain Joe Root had to be rushed to hospital with severe dehydration during the Sydney Test as temperatures reached 42 degrees Celsius on the pitch.
The report further said that Australian summers would only get hotter, with more days over 35 degree Celsius in December in the next 40-60 years.
On Thursday, the ongoing Boxing Day Test between Australia and New Zealand witnessed a record attendance at MCG as 80,473 fans turned out for the contest. It was also the largest-ever crowd for a day of a Test between Australia and New Zealand at any venue.
The attendance of 80,473 people was also the second biggest for a non-Ashes fixture on Boxing Day, only behind the 85,661 fans who watched Australia taking on the West Indies in 1975.